What Are the Top Fashion Design Schools?

You may find that the blend of fine arts, design and industry business training offered at the top fashion design schools is just what you have in mind. Learn what schools are considered the best in the field and what degree programs are available at each. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top Fashion Design School?

You might want a school recognized by industry publications. Perhaps study in world design capitals, or opportunities to design for fashion shows and competitions would appeal to you. Maybe you want to focus on a specialty like designing theater costuming. Relevant laboratory facilities, internships or cooperative programs could be important. Here are programs offering a variety of options.

What Are Three Top Fashion Design Schools?

Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University tied for 102nd in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 national university rankings (www.usnews.com). As a major, you'll study both fine arts and business aspects of a fashion design career. You'll also participate in a 6-month co-op experience. Additionally, an annual fashion show offers you the opportunity to show your collection competitively. You'd be encouraged to submit your designs to national and international competitions. You might even study abroad at the London College of Fashion, and your work could appear on Drexel's Student Portfolio website.

For research and inspiration, the university hosts the 7,000 piece Drexel Historic Costume Collection. In the master's program, you'll participate in an interdisciplinary studio environment, gaining additional skills in industrial production, marketing and merchandising. These degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design
  • Master of Science in Fashion Design

Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR

Oregon State University tied for 140th in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 national university rankings (www.usnews.com). To be admitted to the 3-year professional undergraduate apparel design program, you'll first need to complete 45 credits. You'll learn to design any type of clothing. You might also be interested in specializations offered in active sportswear, theater costuming, apparel for physically-challenged people or protective clothing for people in industrial occupations. The internship program requires a summer internship with a participating company. You might join fellow graduates who are employed by companies like Adidas, Eddie Bauer, Land's End or Nike.

Bachelors through doctoral candidates would have access to a variety of resources, like the Apparel Design Studio. The Textile Laboratories include instruments for physical and chemical testing of fabrics and yarns. This facility also supports businesses in the industry. The Historic and Cultural Textile and Apparel Collection holds Euro-American and ethnic artifacts ranging from 1560 B.C. to the 1980s. These degrees are offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Apparel Design
  • Master of Arts or Master of Science in Design and the Near Environment
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Design and the Near Environment

University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH

The University of Cincinnati tied for 147th in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 national university rankings (www.usnews.com). As an undergraduate in the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, you'll learn broad skills, including the ability to conceptualize, pattern and sew garments and use CAD applications. You'll learn about business aspects of the fashion industry. You will participate in the Professional Practice Program, a co-op program requiring alternating terms of study and professional assignments. At the end of your 5-year program, you'll have 1.5 years of professional experience. Third-year students may select either a design or product development track.

The university maintains a Study Abroad Resource Library and awards International Programs Student Grants. You may be able to access interdisciplinary research initiatives coordinated by UC's Center for Design Research and Innovation. Three computer laboratories and a rapid prototyping center are also available. You'll use the Robert A. Deshon and Karl JU. Schlacter Library for Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. The 2-year master's degree in design permits a concentration in fashion design. These degrees are possible:

  • Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design
  • Master of Design

Additional Schools with Fashion Design Programs

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Undergraduate In-State Tuition*
Baylor University 4-year, Private Waco, TX$45,500
City College of San Francisco 2-year, Public San Francisco, CA$2,000
Savannah College of Art and Design 4-year, Private Savannah, GA$37,000
Fashion Institute of Technology 4-year, Public New York, NY$6,000
Massachusetts College of Art and Design 4-year, Public Boston, MA$13,000
The New School 4-year, Private New York, NY$49,000
Clark Atlanta University 4-year, Private Atlanta, GA$22,000
Purdue University 4-year, Public West Lafayette, IN$10,000
Virginia Commonwealth University 4-year, Public Richmond, VA$14,500

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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